Declares state of emergency
President Goodluck Jonathan has declared a state of emergency in some northern and central parts of the country that have been hit hard by violence blamed on the radical sect, Boko Haram.
…bombings have raised fears that Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden”, and whose movement is styled on the Taliban, is trying to ignite sectarian strife in Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer. >continue<
Intimately related to our last post from yesterday on politicians & bankers turning foodstuffs into a betting game, as well as an earlier entry on Egypt’s food & water supply issues.
Institutions including Harvard and Vanderbilt reportedly use hedge funds to buy land in deals that may force farmers out
Harvard and other major American universities are working through British hedge funds and European financial speculators to buy or lease vast areas of African farmland in deals, some of which may force many thousands of people off their land, according to a new study.
Much of the money is said to be channelled through London-based Emergent asset management, which runs one of Africa’s largest land acquisition funds, run by former JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs currency dealers.
“The scale of the land deals being struck is shocking”, said Mittal. “The conversion of African small farms and forests into a natural-asset-based, high-return investment strategy can drive up food prices and increase the risks of climate change.
…“This is creating insecurity in the global food system that could be a much bigger threat to global security than terrorism. More than one billion people around the world are living with hunger. The majority of the world’s poor still depend on small farms for their livelihoods, and speculators are taking these away while promising progress that never happens.” >continue<
foodramblings « a tumblr focusing on these issues
China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other rich countries that cannot grow their own crops have bought or leased prime lands in Africa at rock bottom prices. Africa is already struggling with food shortages, and their prime lands are being used for foreign export. These countries use African land to grow food for export while paying low wages in a near feudalistic system, extract hugely valuable water resources, and are using millions of tons of unregulated pesticides. Brilliant.
The IIED has a page dedicated to land use deals in Africa, here.
Egypt is a nation of bread eaters. Its citizens consume 18 million tons of wheat annually, more than half of which comes from abroad. Egypt is now the world’s leading wheat importer, and subsidized bread — for which the government doles out approximately $2 billion per year — is seen as an entitlement by the 60 percent or so of Egyptian families who depend on it.
As Egypt tries to fashion a functioning democracy after President Hosni Mubarak’s departure, land grabs to the south are threatening its ability to put bread on the table because all of Egypt’s grain is either imported or produced with water from the Nile River, which flows north through Ethiopia and Sudan before reaching Egypt. (Since rainfall in Egypt is negligible to nonexistent, its agriculture is totally dependent on the Nile.)
Unfortunately for Egypt, two of the favorite targets for land acquisitions are Ethiopia and Sudan, which together occupy three-fourths of the Nile River Basin. Today’s demands for water are such that there is little left of the river when it eventually empties into the Mediterranean. >continue<
The coming water wars will divide the world like never before.